Stylized signature of Solomon Molcho. | (c)

The stories of many prominent people in history are well known. The stories of some individuals are less familiar, but have had a lasting impact on our world and culture. One of these people is Diego Pires, otherwise known as “Solomon Molcho.” He was born in Portugal in the 16 th century and claimed to be the Messiah. This blog covers his story and how he came to be.


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Diogo Pires

Before he became Solomon Molcho, he went by the name Diego Pires, originally a Christian born into a family of Jewish converts. He worked as a royal secretary in Portugal’s high court of Justice and was living a comfortable and secure life. Things took a turn when Diogo witnessed a Jewish adventurer named David Reubeni who called himself “David The Reubenite.” Reubeni was traveling the world in search of Christians who could help him claim Jerusalem from the Turks. Diogo was so moved by his mission that he decided to circumcise himself and flee to Greece. During his time there, he was able to study about the Kabbalah. Once Pires had visions that convinced him that he was the Messiah, he then took the name Solomon Molcho.

Solomon Molcho

Solomon Molcho was known to be a descendant of David and the Messiah. Just like David the Reubenite, Solomon was just as charismatic as him and he started preaching to large crowds and gaining more followers through a series of performances while disguising himself as one of the beggars and lepers near the papal palace.

Solomon had predicted a few disasters such as a flood of the tiber and an earthquake that shook Lisbon. He was then arrested by the authorities and was supposed to be burned at the stake. However, Pope Clement VII grew fascinated by his predictions and had him released. Molcho then decided to join Reubeni in his journey towards Venice and assist him in a mission to the Holy Roman Emperor. At the end of this mission, Solomon Molcho was asked to refute his Jewish fate but he denied. As a result, he was burned at the stake.